It was a rough morning for Woody and me. We got hit with a huge snowstorm between last night and today, so our already shortened trips outside were even further limited as the snow comes up to Woody's back. Once we got back inside I went to take his leash off and something about my thick North Face gloves ($12.99 at Nordstrom Rack!) scared him into an aggressive state. It took about five minutes of calming down to get the leash off him and even then he was still on edge as he was growling, barking and showing his teeth at the sheer state of my presence.
My first instinct was sadness, then anger, then more sadness. I hate when Woody gets in this state because I know it is something that can be controlled with sufficient exercise and creating an environment that minimizes territorial and aggressive triggers. No walks and big scary things coming at his neck don't help matters. After going to a behavioral vet, I have a pretty good handle on rationalizing what sets him off, but sometimes I fail to react properly or prevent the situation. This is why I do not allow most children to touch him, much to the dismay of a few parents I've encountered who think I'm being rude. Even after extensive training I sometimes need to be reminded that Woody's mind needs to be in the right place to keep angry thoughts at bay. This actually goes for humans too, but that's a post for another time.
When I got to work, I consulted my good pal Cesar and refreshed my head with ways to manage aggression. You could say this was today's dose of self-help. If you are dealing with a dog who is acting a little off like mine and you are getting frustrated, I strongly suggest reading some Cesar articles and some of the helpful tips from the ASPCA. And above all, call your vet. They can give you some suggestions for managing the situation and recommend a behavioral specialist in your area that will work with you and your dog on the best options for treating his/her type of bad behavior.
Here is what I have found that helps me and may work for you while you are waiting to connect with a professional:
After a stressful morning, our evening has been much better. What are your tips for managing your dog's bad behavior in the winter months?
I'm just a twenty-something female raising the weirdest dog I've ever met.